(First of all – Happy New Year! I might not be very happy in this post, so I’ll get it out of the way first).
For the past month, we have been dealing with several inquiries from folks who have been refused Post-Graduate Work Permits (PGWPs).
These have mostly been for small administrative issues such as a failure to send a proper final transcript, pay appropriate fees, or uploading issues. Some other cases are those where there is one semester that was not a final semester and that was part-time, usually do to some school scheduling or academic issue. Many had increasing mental health challenges due to COVID-19 related issues, such as the passing away of family members and the need to travel back for those arrangements.
The crux of the problem is that these applications are being refused more than 180 days after the Applicant completes studies. Why is this significant? Well, even though an Applicant is able to restore their status within 90 days of losing their status, at 180 days after the completion of studies, the restoration to PGWP option ceases to exist. Applicants are required to apply for a PGWP within 180 days of completing studies.
Restoration, becomes therefore meaningless as an option outside of the 180 day window. This leads to two applications flooding the system.
- Reconsiderations – many of which (time and time again I find) fail to address the legal test for reconsideration as set out by IRCC and as I have discussed in this past blog.
- Temporary Resident Permits – we have been retained for several of these of late and unfortunately it is heading to the 8 month + range for a just graduated student to wait which is simply not feasible for most.
- Unnecessary Return to Studies with Unclear Implications of Past Studies – many students go back to school – which makes sense from a Diploma to Bachelors level (perhaps) but for many who graduated from a Bachelors or higher, it really makes little sense to force them to take another program. These decisions are being made rushed, finances are being secured urgently (but with huge impact to families) – all to have to remedy a small admin or one part-time semester issue. It truly is overdoing things.
IRCC needs to urgently render timely decisions on study permit refusals – I would argue 90 days from a student’s completion of studies (i.e. less time if the student applies later) is an absolute maximum time that can be taken (freeing up another 90 for restoration in a feasible time). Given the use of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) in this space, it should free up Officers to consider some of these cases where there may be admin issue to see if it can be addressed in reconsideration or in applying discretion, rather than having to put students in the loop. Right now, the Courts, are taking a position there is no discretion so litigation is of limited use to force change.
If in fact, the refusal of PGWPs is now a policy directive to try and tackle the backlog or filter the number of PGWP holders perhaps this should be communicated. Students could choose to transition out of classes back home, or return back after graduation, rather than stick around in limbo waiting for a TRP.
Too many mental health issues are being burdened by students who simply are going things that students go through, such as taking part-time classes to better their education outcomes or to save money. Students are making honest mistakes following confusing immigration application instructions. They should not be punished the way they currently are under our Canadian immigration system.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to engage with me on Twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.